Knicks Center Joakim Noah has been suspended 20 games for violating the NBA’s anti-drug policy.
When I saw this headline I was immediately shocked because I couldn’t fathom what could possibly get Noah suspended for 20 games. You read/hear “anti-drug policy” and I think the natural reaction is the consumption of illegal drugs.
But that wasn’t at all the case for Noah.
He took an over-the-counter supplement that apparently contained selective androgen receptor modulator LGD-4033. I have no idea what that is but it is apparently banned under the NBA’s current collective bargaining agreement.
LGD-4033 is a “non-steroidal, selective androgen receptor modulator that, much like testosterone, can create anabolic activity in muscles and bones” and “provides many of the muscle-building and therapeutic benefits of testosterone, without the same level of troublesome side effects,” according to elitefitness.com.
Noah cooperated with the investigation and will not appeal the suspension via the NBPA. The players union did issue this comment, “We believe that this isolated occurrence was a regrettable mistake. Joakim has offered his deepest apologies for this infraction.”
It appears as if Noah was unaware of what he was consuming. Many will probably immediately assume guilt because of his decision not to appeal the suspension but that isn’t necessarily the case.
This is hardly the first time a professional athlete has gotten dinged for failing a drug test after taking “supplements” that contain ingredients that are banned. The problem with the over-the-counter supplement world is that many of these products contain ingredients that are “being sold illegally as dietary supplements” according the the USADA whom has issued warnings in the past.
The likelihood that Noah is a victim here is pretty high. And as I mentioned earlier, this has happened countless times.
Here’s my question though…when is someone going to go after these companies that are selling these “supplements” whose ingredients often times aren’t even correctly listed on the label?
Noah is going to miss 20 games without pay. He signed a 4-year $72 million deal with the Knicks. 20 games worth of pay is approximately $4.4 million.
Maybe that’s not enough of a blow to Noah’s pocket book to justify suing the company that sold this supplement containing illegal substances, but if nobody takes this on when is it going to stop?
And it’s not just about the professional athletes whom are losing income over the consumption of banned substances either. It’s about the average person that walks into a drug store or local supplement storefront and purchases these products under false pretenses.
We don’t really know what these dietary supplements contain. Many supplements, and even vitamins for that matter, are not monitored by the USADA.
Maybe it’s because I can’t imagine making $4.4 million in a lifetime let alone in a month worth of work but how much is enough before someone decides to take on the beast? How much is enough to justify the expense of fighting back against this kind of blatant fraud?